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by Mark Zalewski
April 21, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Montaguti wins climber’s sprint at Tour of the Alps, Pinot makes up ground; Ruffoni wins sprint in longest stage at Tour of Croatia; Australian Road Nationals to remain in Ballarat until 2020; British Cycling commissions ‘medical review’ after Wiggins’ medical package scandal; ORICA-Scott changing Grand Tour strategy: Simon Yates with Chaves at Tour de France; Gilbert or Van Avermaet: which for Belgium at world championships?; Andrey Grivko given 45-day suspension for punching incident at Dubai Tour; Loss of Rabobank sponsorship affects Dutch federation youth programme; OVO Energy becomes title sponsor of Women’s Tour, Tour of Britain; Nicole Van den Broeck passes away; More good news from Girdlestone’s road to recovery; Van der Breggen and Valverde, an annual Fleche tradition; Video: The Tour De France Explained in Animation; Video: Oakley Cycling Sessions 2017.
Cycling Australia has today announced that the Australian Road National Championships will remain in the Victorian city of Ballarat until 2020. The national championships have been held in Ballarat — which lies 90 minutes west-north-west of Melbourne — every year since 2007 and all but two years since 2002. Cycling Australia’s contract with the City of Ballarat contract concluded with this year’s Road Nationals in January, prompting renewed discussion about alternative venues for 2018 and beyond. But newly appointed Cycling Australia chairman (and former Victorian premier) Steve Bracks told CyclingTips that while other locations around Australia had been considered — including Bathurst/Mount Panorama — it made the most sense to return to Ballarat.
“It’s always tempting to say ‘Well you could move it around the country and hopefully we get people bidding for these’, but this was the best deal,” Bracks said. “There was testing of other places in Australia — particularly in New South Wales — where we could have this, but no one could match the deal that we’re getting from [Victoria’s] major events corporation and from the City of Ballarat to keep it there.”
The Road Nationals’ extended stay in Ballarat has prompted criticism from some riders and fans who are keen to see a change in the course used for the meet’s flagship events — the road races. Excluding a minor change to the course in 2013 — to include a larger opening lap — the circuit for the Nationals road races has been the same for 14 of the last 16 years. The 10.2km loop, which goes partway up Mt. Buninyong, is challenging and attracts large crowds, but is seen to favour only certain riders.
Cycling Australia confirmed in a press release that “a review of the famous Mount Buninyong circuit is currently underway” but it would seem unlikely that Mt. Buninyong would be removed from the road races entirely. As Ballarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh told CyclingTips, the climb isn’t just an important part of the race — it’s a key drawcard for spectators who come to watch the race live.
“I think that we’ve come up with something pretty spectacular that delivers for the cyclists but also delivers for the spectators,” said Mayor McIntosh. “This particular event is not just about the cyclists on the track, as much as they’re the ones that we all come along to cheer on. We want to know that it is a great spectator’s event as well and it absolutely proves to do that exceptionally well with the mammoth crowds that line the hill on that big day.”
Click through to read more at CyclingTips.